Emergency MedicineEthics in HealthcareIntensive CareSMACCTraumaBombing of Hospitals in Warzones: Kathleen Thomas

Bombing of Hospitals in Warzones: Kathleen Thomas

Kathleen Thomas describes her harrowing experience of a warzone whilst working in the ICU and ED of the Médecins Sans Frontières run Kunduz Trauma Centre (KTC) in northern Afghanistan.

Kathleen describes her work during a week where she found herself caught up in an eruption of war. The Taliban forcibly took control of Kunduz from the US backed Afghan Military.

This marked the beginning of a challenging week of heavy conflict in which the hospital was the only facility providing impartial medical care to war wounded civilians and soldiers from both sides of the conflict.

Despite the proximity of the rapidly changing front line, Kathleen believes that the hospital is the safest place. Both warring parties had agreed to respect the protection provided to us under International Humanitarian law.

Kathleen’s work in KTC came to a grinding halt when a US Gunship fired over 200 missiles into our hospital. This destroyed the main building and killed 42 people including 14 of her colleagues.

It was a scene of nightmarish horror that Kathleen will never forget.

More than 250 hospitals in Syria and 130 in Yemen have been attacked. This shows a growing disregard for the rules of war. Despite the condemnation by the UN, the attacks on medical facilities continue, unabated.

Following an eyewitness account of the attack on KTC, Kathleen asks some important questions: Is international humanitarian law no longer respected by warring parties?

Are we entering into a new paradigm of war where hospital attacks are a legitimate military tactic?

What does this mean for the future of critical care delivery in war zones across the world?

Bombing of Hospitals in Warzones: Kathleen Thomas

For more like this, head to our podcast page. #CodaPodcast

Kathleen Thomas